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Comment: Re:Shame this happened (Score 2) 130

by mrchaotica (#46787347) Attached to: Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

What really should have happened is that all his Monsanto-using neighbors should have gotten in trouble for allowing their seeds to escape. Since they were the ones who were parties to the agreement with Monsanto, they were the ones who broke that agreement.

Of course, Monsanto suing its own customers would be bad for business, so it went after the innocent third-party instead...

Comment: Re:It's about spending, not income (Score 1) 225

by mrchaotica (#46785027) Attached to: I expect to retire ...

How long it takes you to retire is a function of only one variable under your control

You mean 2 variables: savings rate and asset allocation. If you want a 50% savings rate to get you retired in 7-8 years, [most of] that money needs to be in the stock market or a real estate portfolio, not under your mattress.

Comment: Re:For all the 20-somethings... (Score 1) 225

by mrchaotica (#46784979) Attached to: I expect to retire ...

What does "social security" have to do with anything? I'm a "20-something" and plan on retiring 10-15 years from now on just the assets I save myself. If I eventually get social security, well that's just a bonus.

(The hard part is not the lack of social security; the hard part is the shitty job market. Since my wife and I graduated college 5 years ago, at least one of us has been unemployed at almost any given time. We've learned to live on less than a third of our fully-employed income -- which is coincidentally why we'd be able to retire so quickly if we remain fully employed!)

Comment: Re:Too poor (Score 0) 225

by mrchaotica (#46784905) Attached to: I expect to retire ...

she gets $1600 before taxes.. After taxes, she is at $1100 a month

Bullshit. Even assuming the worst-case scenario (that all of her income is taxable, which if it's Social Security and a pension then it almost certainly isn't), an Adjusted Gross Income of $1600 * 12 = $19200 means her taxable income would be $19,200 - $6100 (standard deduction) - $3900 (one exemption) = $9200. The federal income tax on $9200 is $930, which means her real after-tax monthly income would be $1522. (And before you say "what about state income tax," remember the example is in Texas where there isn't any.)

As for the rest of it, $1522 - $600 - $400 = $522 for food, telephone and car which (given that she's not racking up a bunch of miles commuting) is plenty.

FYI, it's possible to live well surprisingly cheaply in the US. My average spending over the last year has been ~$1700/month, and that's for 2 people living in a 3-bedroom house in a nice, walkable neighborhood about 3 miles from the center of a major city.

Comment: Re:how many of these people don't want to retire? (Score 3, Interesting) 225

by mrchaotica (#46784725) Attached to: I expect to retire ...

How much do you expect to spend per year in retirement? Take that number and multiply by 20 (assuming you think a 4% safe withdrawal rate is OK; or multiply by 33 for a 3% rate, etc.). Note that the safe withdrawal rate also depends strongly on your asset allocation.

See also:,, and (my favorite)

Comment: Re:Simple problem, simple solution (Score 1) 356

by mrchaotica (#46774441) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

Parking meters still impose a cost on the preexisting residents and are not a wholly entrepreneurial solution since they require cooperation from the city.

Parking permits could work if they are granted in perpetuity to whoever currently resides in the preexisting residences, but a) somebody still has to pay for enforcement, b) I've never heard of a parking permit system that actually worked that way, and c) it is also a government, rather than entrepreneurial, solution.

Besides, why solve the problem in a way that must be managed in perpetuity when you can solve it once and for all by just making the developer build enough parking in the first place?

(By the way, I'd like you to know that I'm not making these arguments because I'm a fan of automobile-centric development -- quite the contrary! Rather, I merely take issue with the idea of letting the developer do whatever is "fiscally optimal" for himself without considering the rest of the community that would be impacted by the result.)

Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 2) 1571

by mrchaotica (#46769701) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

What nonsense. The Constitution does not legitimize sedition.

Bullshit. Laws which prohibit sedition are unconstitutional. Wikipedia quotes several Supreme Court cases:

In the seminal free speech case of New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, the Court declared, "Although the Sedition Act was never tested in this Court, the attack upon its validity has carried the day in the court of history." 376 U.S. 254, 276 (1964). In a concurring opinion in Watts v. United States, which involved an alleged threat against President Lyndon Johnson, William O. Douglas noted, "The Alien and Sedition Laws constituted one of our sorriest chapters; and I had thought we had done with them forever ... Suppression of speech as an effective police measure is an old, old device, outlawed by our Constitution."

Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1571

by mrchaotica (#46769583) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

When the constitution was ratified, the militia was the only defense that the United States had, and all able bodied men were expected to be ready to serve.

On April 16, 2014, the militia is still the last defense that the people of the United States have against tyranny perpetrated against them by their government.

Comment: Re:Simple problem, simple solution (Score 1) 356

by mrchaotica (#46769439) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

Your example is irrelevant because:

  1. 1. We're talking about a chronic, ongoing issue, not a special-event-one-day-per-year one.
  2. 2. If homeowners let people park on their laws every day, it would kill their grass
  3. 3. Such a thing can't happen anyway, because dense parts of San Francisco like we're talking about here don't have lawns big enough to park on.
  4. 4. Even if such a solution were physically possible, it would certainly violate San Francisco ordinances (zoning code etc.).

More to the point, the fundamental problem here is that street parking (which is what you end up with without forcing the developer to build more via regulation) is a commons, and no private actor (entrepreneur or otherwise) is capable of "fixing the problem."

Comment: Re:Simple problem, simple solution (Score 1) 356

by mrchaotica (#46766807) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

("Fiscally optimal" meaning the amount where the marginal cost of building another parking space (MC) equals the marginal revenue from building it (MR).)

Surely that calculation would include the externalized cost of more competition for on-street parking the developer would be imposing on the neighbors... right?

Yeah, I thought not.

Comment: Re:Greedy bastards ... (Score 1) 415

by mrchaotica (#46761427) Attached to: Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

First: No, I don't think political parties should be protected by the First Amendment if they are organized as limited-liability corporations (C-corps, S-corps, LLCs, etc. -- unencorporated partnerships, on the other hand, are just fine).

Second: Political parties are, in general, a cancer and government recognition of them should be abolished. Closed primaries, faction-based voting and Gerrymandering are all violations of democratic principles caused by the existence of political parties, and the extremism & gridlock in Congress is an excellent example of the harm that results.

Third: Nothing I've said would in any way whatsoever harm like-minded people's ability to get together and advocate some political ideology. Said group neither needs nor deserves special recognition under the law that is not afforded to individuals, however!

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.